For anyone in-the-know when it comes to skincare, there are a select few products that have made it to cult status. First popularized by word-of-mouth testimonials from celebrities, aestheticians, makeup artists, and beauty editors, these prestige products–like Biologique Recherche’s P50 Lotion and Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum–have now reached viral fame thanks to beauty influencers and social media. While these holy grail products are certainly buzz-worthy, they often come with exorbitant prices that make them beauty investments. For those wondering whether they’re actually worth it, L’OFFICIEL consults several beauty industry insiders on the top five cult skincare products.
At the pinnacle of cult beauty products is the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. For decades, beauty editors and skincare junkies have sworn by the exfoliating liquid's skin-smoothing properties, despite its notoriously unsavory smell. Formulated to reduce dark spots, shrink pores, balance the skin's pH, and strengthen the epidermis, P50 is an anti-aging powerhouse. Skincare guru Joanna Czech has been using it for 25 years. "[P50] is one of my must haves," she says. "It controls the skin’s pH and is a great micro-exfoliator." The celebrity aesthetician says it should be the first step after your nighttime cleansing. Co-founder of newly launched skincare brand Dieux Charlotte Palermino is also a fan, but warns against over-exfoliating and irritation. "When you're using P50, don't use other exfoliators or resurfacing agents," she advises, adding, "But on its own? Iconic for a reason."
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $103
Dubbed a Miracle Cream, this pricey and luxurious moisturizer has earned praise from a long list of beauty industry pros and celebrities, including Victoria Beckham and Margot Robbie. Czech says its worth the $265 price tag: "The consistency is great and the repairing effects of the TFC8 Complex address every skin condition." The special complex she speaks of contains a mixture of nourishing vitamins, natural amino acids, and synthesized molecules, which help The Rich Cream stimulate stem cell production, and thus deliver glowing skin. Mai Quynh, makeup artist to L'OFFICIEL star Chloë Grace Moretz and other starlets, vouches for the cream's holy grail status, sharing that the product "evens out my skin tone and takes away any redness and dark spots, making it look younger and healthier." She also uses it on the job, as it is the perfect texture for day or night and "works well under makeup."
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $265
La Mer's luxe skincare line has a polarizing reputation thanks to its lofty prices and some questionable ingredients (a cosmetic chemist once determined that Crème de la Mer's ingredients cost only a little over $20). Like its favorite face cream, The Concentrate is made to soothe skin and aid in anti-aging. Seasoned makeup pro Gucci Westman doesn't buy it, though. "This wouldn't personally be something I would put on my skin," she says. Because it contains potentially irritating ingredients like lime peel extract, limonene, and phenoxyethanol, the Westman Atelier founder and celebrity MUA is wary of products that may agitate her rosacea.
La Mer The Concentrate, $390
Considered the crème de la crème, this Vitamin C serum from no-nonsense, science-backed skincare brand Skinceuticals combines antioxidant ferulic acid with pure Vitamins C and E to protect skin against environmental factors like pollution and free radicals from UVA/UVB. With consistent use, the serum treats fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and loss of firmness. Palermino vouches for the product’s effectiveness and its top-notch ingredients. “Trying to find a good dupe is like trying to cook a recipe with an ingredient list, it's hard and takes a lot of [research and development],” she says. “When Skinceutical's patent is up maybe then we'll see a good replica, ‘till then, it's one of the best skincare products on the market for a reason.”
Skinceuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic Serum, $166
One of the best ingredients to save dry skin, hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain moisture. Beloved by Kim Kardashian West, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s proprietary HA serum is formulated to have the optimal consistency for its short and long chain hyaluronic molecules to deliver hydration. Westman says she can feel and see the difference when she uses it. “[The serum] really penetrates the skin deeper, which in the long run leaves my skin feeling more hydrated and plump.”
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, $300
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.